Maybe you've just finished finals, maybe you've graduated, maybe you're kicking ass at work, or maybe you're just really feeling yourself lately. Any of these things is a reason to make like Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle from Parks & Rec and TREAT YO' SELF (for the unfamiliar, please acquaint yourself)!
I'm lucky enough to live in a place where treatin' yo’self is built into the very fabric of this city. In Montreal, I could spin around blindfolded and no matter what direction I’m heading, if I keep walking, I'm going to find myself at the doorstep of somewhere awesome.
Image: Instagram @Cacao70official
I am so lucky to be sandwiched between two chocolate restaurants a half a block in either direction of my street. My personal favorite is Cacao70 . Everything in this restaurant is in fact chocolate, or at least served with a side of chocolate. They even have chocolate beer!
With laid back servers, a cleanly modern, woody and homey interior, the food is not only delicious but gorgeous—this restaurant is the perfect place to indulge. According to Andrew Willcock, the downtown Montreal floor manager, Cacao70's whole aim is to "create a decadent but relaxing experience". I can vouch that they do exactly that! As I typed that sentence I spaced out for a minute imagining my favorite order, the Sweet Chocolate Experience For Two—you're served a fluffy waffle drizzled in chocolate, fresh strawberries, bananas, chocolate-coated crunchies, plus there’s marshmallows for toasting, your very own cute little pot of fire, decadent vanilla ice cream drizzled in chocolate, and either a chocolate milkshake, or a hot chocolate, depending on the season. I can't even tell you how delicious all of this is!
Of course there’s no reason we should have all the fun up north. And if you can’t eat chocolate, you can still enjoy it. Here are some other ways to indulge:
If you can't make it here one day, maybe you can create your own sweet chocolate experience at home with Elishacoy Milk Cacao Black Sugar Scrub (which certainly will be a lot friendlier on your blood sugar levels). Elishacoy Milk Cacao Black Sugar Scrub is a scrumptious chocolate-scented scrub that smells like delicious brownie batter. Apply it on wet skin and gently massage in a circular motion taking care to only use your ring and pinky fingers (the other fingers would inadvertently apply too much pressure). It leaves your skin soft and exfoliated, and your bathroom smelling like chocolate heaven.
And if you really, really, want to have your chocolate and eat it too, allow me to let you in on my own homemade treat. Take 2 tbs of raw organic cacao powder, one frozen banana, 3 tbs of organic maple syrup, one cup of almond or soy milk, and blend until smooth. This is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and an absolute chocolate indulgence that just about everyone can try, not matter where they are!
Image: Instagram @m0851official
You simply cannot have a Treat Yo'self day without shopping! I can't think of a more indulgent thing than shopping for fine leather goods. Now, hear me out—good leather will last you decades. Sure the prices are higher than grabbing a fast-fashion bag, but I can almost guarantee you'll be reaching for the good leather for years to come, long after your fast-fashion bag has fallen apart at the seams.
My leather goods spot is Montreal's own m0851. Once you walk through the doors the rich smell of top quality leather envelops you like a warm hug. Their goods are both cutting-edge and classic, available in seasonal color collections as well as the typical browns and blacks. There's going to be something that appeals to you, no matter what your style. The ultra modern designs coupled with the most supple Italian leather I've ever felt makes me weak in the knees.
m0851 designs and manufactures all their creations right here in Montreal, but they have boutiques in Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, New York, Paris, Antwerp, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Osaka. They also have an online store so no matter where you are you can join me in treating yourself!
Image: Instagram @Botabotamtl
There's no bigger treat to yourself than a trip to a spa. It is sheer self indulgence but it's also self care, which we could all use more of.
Bota Bota is the most beautiful spa I've ever been to, and it's my go-to daydream destination when my stress levels hit that mystery-metallic-taste-in-my-mouth range. Bota Bota is a sprawling former ferry and showboat that's now permanently docked in the Old Port of Montreal, having been transformed into a stunning floating spa. The interior is beautiful and the treatments are sumptuous. One of my favorites is The Queen Of The Sea facial, which is done with products featuring natural ingredients.
Worry not, those of you at home! Why not try one of the many skincare treats that also boast natural ingredients? There are so many goodies from Skinfood, Too Cool For School, and Goodal that could give you a little natural at-home skin treat.
Recently I brought the Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Mask Wash Off with me on the set of a photo shoot. After I applied it to one of the models, I had everyone crowding around us asking what that yummy smell was—it’s just like strawberry jam.
When the model went to go wash it off and returned with soft glowing skin, everyone was touching her skin and begging me to let them try it too. In the end I had eight people in the studio with strawberry masks on, going about their jobs. Afterward everyone was talking about how much they loved the mask and begging me to tell them where they could get one of their own! If that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is.
So please, join us, won't you? Let's set aside a day to be all about you and get to treatin'!
Coco Park, a.k.a. The Beauty Wolf, is on the prowl for beauty in all its forms including, but not limited to, makeup, art, and hip-hop. She's a cityslicker from the South living in Montreal with her family. Catch @thebeautywolf on Instagram.